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The North West early childhood and primary teacher workforce development strategy: Stage two

Jackson-Barrett, E., Price, A., MacCallum, J., McKenzie, S., Lee-Hammond, L. and Winterton, A. (2009) The North West early childhood and primary teacher workforce development strategy: Stage two. Murdoch University. Centre for Learning, Change and Development, Murdoch, W.A.

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Abstract

The aim of this project was to further develop an Early Childhood Teacher Workforce Development Strategy for the remote North West of Western Australia (WA). Funding from this Commonwealth Seeding Grant formed Stage Two of this strategy, Stage One having commenced in Semester One 2009 through funding from the Australian Government and the WA Department of Education and Training to support the COAG Universal Access to Early Childhood Education agenda.

The success of the project to date is a tribute to the close collaboration between Murdoch University‘s School of Education, the Australian Government‘s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and the WA Department of Education and Training.

The project is located in the remote Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia, which face enormous challenges in achieving both UNESCO‘s Millenium goals of Education for All and the more recent Australian 'Closing the Gap' campaign initiatives (Price and Jackson-Barrett, 2009). To this end, both the Commonwealth and State governments have sought ways to improve the educational opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students living in these regions. In particular, there has been a focus on improving access to high quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) for all children.

The need for highly qualified Early Childhood teachers, prepared and fully equipped to work in remote and rural locations is critical to the success of this strategy. This urgent need is exacerbated in WA by a predicted 2.2% growth rate in student numbers over the next ten years (Personal Communication, DET WA, 9/11/9). The Global Financial Crisis has seen lower numbers of teachers resign or retire than usual. However there is still a predicted severe shortage of teachers in WA over the next ten years.

A central focus of this project has been to provide opportunities for Aboriginal Islander Education Officers (AIEOs), Teacher Assistants1 (TAs) and Child Care Workers (CCWs) who already live and work in the region to become teachers in and for their communities. These potential teachers already have a strong understanding of and attachment to the context in which they will teach. For many, it is their home where they were born. For others, it has been a life style choice to move there. Whatever their circumstances, all of these potential teachers are connected by 'country' and community in their own unique way, which in our opinion adds value to the importance of this project.

This detailed report presents recommendations for future workforce development based on the preliminary findings from this six-month study, as presented in chapter 13.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Series Name: Early Childhood Education and Care Best Practice and Innovation Projects
Publisher: Murdoch University. Centre for Learning, Change and Development
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/15510
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